To cope with the winter, the British open “heat banks” – Liberation


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Between the energy crisis and inflation, more and more Britons have to do without heating. Cities and volunteers are addressing the problem by offering them warm spaces to spend the day.

Birmingham, the second largest city in the UK, is bathed in thick fog which is slow to lift. The thermometer will not exceed 5 degrees today, and is about to change to negative temperatures. In the Nechells district, in the northeastern part of the city, tall towers of buildings stand in the white light. “There are major overcrowding problems in these homes,” explains Beth Bailey, manager of POD, a social center located at the foot of the buildings, where several associations, a library and a food bank coexist.

Cold wave

To the already busy program of community workers, a new initiative has just been added: to serve “warm room” welcoming those who can’t afford to turn on their radiators this winter. “We always opened the door for those who wanted to come and sit in a corner, charge their phone, drink a tea and eat a piece of toast, Beth points out. It’s just that now it has a name.’ It welcomes more people per day. “These are mainly pensioners and insecure people over the age of 50. There are also people who work because in this neighborhood many jobs are uberized and people have zero hour contracts [contrats précaires sans durée de travail minimale, ndlr]without stable income.


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